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Summer has a reputation for being the most violent time of the year. But is it true?

Detroit skyline

Whether it’s due to school being out or tempers flaring along with the heat, summer has a reputation for being the time of year with the most crime. But is it true?

An analysis of data from 2020 through 2022 shows assault, aggravated assault and disorderly conduct were reported more often in the summer months in each of those years. But trends for reported car theft, sexual assault, and homicide were mixed.

A 2014 study from the U.S. Department of Justice found that across the country, you’re slightly more likely in the summer to be a victim of violent crime.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit Police Chief James White and Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney Kym Worthy have all pointed to a rise in temperature coinciding with a rise in crime.

Earlier this year, those officials announced a summer enforcement strategy in the 8th and 9th Precincts, which officials say had among the highest rates of shootings, robberies, and carjackings in 2023. That strategy involves prosecuting people in those neighborhoods in federal court for certain crimes.

The city also put a focus on enforcing Detroit’s curfew for minors after a weekend of shootings.

Monique Marks is the President of Franklin Wright Settlements, a community center in Detroit. She wants the city to focus on creating opportunities and enrichment for young people.

“Those are the kids is going to be out there committing crimes. First, they're going to start with petty crimes and it's going to escalate. So if we want to make a difference in the city, you have to just say, okay, we must find funding. That would take kids off the street like they used to be,” she said.

“I'm always looking for ways to heal children before they become adults. Well, before they get into gang life or before they, you know, start carrying guns or using drugs, we're trying to tap into them early.”

The 2014 report from the U.S. Department of Justice did not focus on specific regions, but found that assault rates were lowest for youth at the beginning of the summer when school let out and highest when school started back up in the fall.

This story was published in partnership with Outlier Media’s new Streetlight Detroit newsletter focused on engaging and critical deep dives at the intersection of safety, justice and policing in the city. You can sign up for Streetlight Detroit here.

Briana Rice is Michigan Public's criminal justice reporter. She's focused on what Detroiters need to feel safe and whether they're getting it.